LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada conservative Sharron Angle, who lost a high-profile bid to oust Democratic Sen. Harry Reid in 2010, filed paperwork Friday to make an encore run for his soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat.
The tea party darling said she registered in Carson City after months of testing the water and hinting at a possible bid. Her move adds another primary opponent for the Republican frontrunner, three-term Rep. Joe Heck, and could throw a wrench in Republicans' hopes to claim the seat over Reid's endorsed candidate, former Democratic Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.
"It was the clamor of the people," Angle told The Associated Press on Friday about why she decided to run. "People would walk up to me in the grocery store. People would say, 'I sure hope you run.' People all over the U.S."
Angle won the Republican nomination in a divisive three-way primary in 2010, then lost to Reid in the general election, 50 percent to 45 percent. She's a former state assemblywoman who also lost a GOP primary for the U.S. House in 2006.
Democrats have salivated over the prospect of Angle entering the race because it would sidetrack Heck from his general election-focused campaign. They've sought for months to conflate Angle and Heck, even introducing a pair of parrot costumes to suggest the two repeat each other's positions.
"Nevada Republicans now have a choice between an anti-immigrant TEA Party Republican known for saying outlandish things like calling Social Security a 'pyramid scheme' and . Sharron Angle," the Nevada State Democratic Party said in a statement after the announcement.
Heck's campaign didn't have immediate comment.
Angle has remained active in politics since her 2010 defeat, and has been seeking ballot measures this cycle to ban a statewide health insurance exchange and impose voter ID requirements at the polls. She spoke enthusiastically Friday about the prospect of a Donald Trump-Ted Cruz Republican ticket.
"I think there is a window of opportunity right now for any conservative who is not part of the D.C. establishment," she said in an interview in February. "We have seen that with the presidential race. I think that is why Donald Trump has gotten so much traction."
Nevada Republicans Sen. Dean Heller and Reps. Mark Amodei and Cresent Hardy have endorsed Heck, who's raised millions so far for his bid.
Angle pointed to the tens of millions of dollars she raised in her last Senate contest as evidence that the race was winnable. She won the 2010 Senate nomination with support from tea party activists in another hotly contested primary over Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian at a time many GOP regulars thought the others had a better chance to unseat Reid.
"The people know who I am — they know I am the anti-establishment candidate," she told AP on Friday. "I'm counting on the grassroots one more time."